tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC June 6, 2015 7:00am-9:01am PDT
nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. >>visit humira.com and talk to your rheumatologist. humira. this is a body of proof! good morning once again. i'm steve kornacki here in new york this morning. msnbc is bringing you special coverage of the funeral for former delaware attorney general and son of the vice president beau biden. services expected to get under way just 30 minutes from now. beau biden died last saturday a week ago today at the age of 46 from brain cancer.
biden served for two terms as delaware's top law enforcement official. he announced last year that he would be running for gunfire of delaware in 2016. beau biden was also a major in the delaware army national guard. he was deployed to iraq back in 2008 and he was awarded the bronze star for his service. on thursday his body lay in honor in delaware's legislative hall in the state capital in dover. the biden family including vice president joe biden, dr. jill biden, beau's widow halle and their children all of them attended the memorial where state dignitaries spoke about biden's life including the current governor of delaware jack markell. >> beau made delaware a better place for us all. and he did so because of his determination and his persistence, because of his intellect and his willingness to fight. because he persuaded and cajoled. and most of all, because beau
had an extraordinary heart. and from that heart, he lived a life that is a model for us all. >> the family received hundreds of mourners some of whom had arrived hours early to pay their respects. vice president biden reportedly stayed and greeted well wishers for several hours. on friday hundreds more attended a wake at the st. anthony roman catholic church in wilmington, that's where that funeral mass is going to be held today. also yesterday the biden family held a small private funeral at the church that beau attended in greenville. this morning, president obama will deliver the eulogy at a funeral mass. that mass is open to the public. joining us now from wilmington delaware, is nbc news capitol hill correspondent luke russert. luke, good morning to you, thanks for joining us. what can you tell us about what we can expect in today's
services? >> reporter: good morning, steve. we can tell you president obama and the first family including michelle obama and the two daughters have just recently landed and are on their way to the church in wilmington via motorcade. and this church is really i think reflective of what the biden family is to delaware which is representing people of all stripes. it's a diverse neighborhood, working class neighborhood. formerly italian catholic neighborhood and it's diversified over the years. there's many people just watching the services, many paying their respects. as far as what we expect to see from the funeral, i think you can see this wonderful picture of beau right here. this is a very catholic funeral. you're going to have the catholic hymns that are often sang at funerals. also there will be some readings. one reading is from the book of wisdom which talks about not the quantity of years of a life but the quality of a life. that's really what you're sort of getting this sense, that beau biden, 46 years old, taken way
too early but he did so much in a short amount of time. telling that message will be three people. president obama will talk about beau biden and his service to his state. his brother and sister hunter and ashley will talk about beau biden the family man. he's got his beautiful wife and beautiful kids. that's what is really gripping at the heart strings here. gone so young with a young, beautiful family a family that's known so much tragedy. so very emotional here in wilmington. >> all right, nbc's luke russert. please stand by. we'll be coming back your way in just a moment. sadly, vice president biden is no stranger to difficult loss having suffered great tragedy just as his political career was getting under way decades ago. just after being elected to the senate for the first time in the year 1972 his first wife amelia and their 13-month-old daughter were killed in a car accident. it also severely injured his sons beau and hunter. biden was just about to turn 30 years old then.
he considered resigning the seat to which he had just been elected, but instead he did take the oath of office. not at the senate but at the wilmington hospital where his sons were recovering from that accident. just a few weeks ago, the vice president spoke about how he was able to persevere through that grief. >> but by focusing on my sons i found my redemption. i can remember my mother, a sweet lady, looking at me after we left the hospital. and saying joey out of everything terrible that happens to you, something good will come if you look hard enough for it. she was right. the incredible bond i have with my children is a gift i'm not sure i would have had had i not been through what i went through.
>> the vice president is not expected to speak today at the funeral of his eldest son beau. instead, president obama will deliver the eulogy. luke, what can we expect from obama at today's service in that eulogy? >> well a lot has been said about the relationship between vice president biden and president obama. it was one that started out as one of political convenience is that joe biden knew about foreign policy and barack obama needed to shore that up in 2008. but since that time, they have really grown close. their families have grown close. the obama daughters are in the same grade as vice president biden's granddaughters. so beau biden was very close to president obama as well because they were closer in age. when he took a turn for the worst, joe biden alerted the president and the president, as we know from aides, consoled joe biden and as soon as beau biden passed, when they were speaking, it was decided that president obama would, in fact, deliver
the eulogy. and we're told from aides that the president is taking this very responsibility very seriously. he is writing the entire eulogy himself. he spent a lot of time on it over the last week. and as we know about his orator skills this should be one that we'll remember for a long time. >> all right, thank you to nbc's luke russert, again outside that church where that mass is expected to begin less than a half-hour from now. we'll checking back in with you throughout the morning. by all accounts beau biden and his father had an extraordinarily close relationship. that's something quite apparent when beau introduced his father as the vice presidential nominee back at the 2008 democratic national convention. >> my father would be a great vice president. as i mentioned, my dad has always been there for me. my brother, my sister every day. but because of other duties, it won't be possible for me to be here this fall to stand by him the way he stood by me.
so i have something to ask of you. be there for my dad like he was for me. please join me in welcoming my friend my father my hero, the next vice president of the united states, joe biden. >> and with me in the studio this morning are jonathan kayepart father jim martin editor at large of american media. victoria defrancesco soto, and jonathan alter. jonathan, let me start with you. that speech we played a clip from in 2008 i remember being at the convention, and what an incredibly emotional moment that was when you took into account the biden family history and you knew the story of that accident
in 1972 and how joe biden had almost lost his son. his son about to be serving in iraq. and there they are onstage at this incredible moment of triumph for joe biden after all he's been through personally and professionally. he gets this crowning moment and his son gets to introduce him. >> yeah it was very moving at the convention. and then a few weeks later, just by coincidence, i was covering joe biden. it was right after the vice presidential debate and it happened to be the day that beau biden was shipping out for iraq. i was with joe and jill biden and beau's children that day as there was this big departure ceremony, and saw beau biden get on the plane in uniform. they were very upset, as i think any parents seeing a son or daughter shipping out would be. and i just got a little glimpse. i don't know the family well.
but i got a little glimpse of the emotional feel. the intensity of the family bond in the biden family. they are very worried about his safety and very anxious to reach out to other families. and you saw that jill biden in particular has been very involved in that. so that whole period in 2008 when joe biden was being elected vice president was also an intense family period for them because beau biden was shipping out. >> all right. we're going to show some pictures here. i think this is the white house right now. the flags have been lowered to half staff there in honor of beau biden. the president now apparently in delaware on his way to that church for the funeral mass. msnbc's live coverage is going to continue after this.
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the death of former delaware attorney general beau biden came in the middle of what had been an accomplished career in public service with still greater promise for the future. biden worked for nine years as a prosecutor in the philadelphia u.s. attorney's office, and then in 2006 the delaware voters elected him to the office of attorney general. beau stepped into the national spotlight in 2008 after introducing his father at the democratic national convention on the night that joe biden accepted the party's nomination for vice president of the united states. just a month after that, beau biden, who was a major in the delaware army national guard deployed two iraq where he served for one year and was awarded a bronze star for his actions. last year, after serving two terms as the state's attorney general, biden announced that he would not be seeking a third
term because he had his high on a higher office. delaware governor jack markell spoke monday on "morning joe" about what would have been next for beau biden. >> we expected him to run. had he run, he would have won. and when he won, he would have been a very effective governor. this is a huge loss for all of delaware. not just because of how good he was as an elected official, but just because of what an incredibly decent and good person he was. >> with us this morning from washington, d.c. we have jamal simmons, christina belantoni. right now i want to bring in ed rendell, nbc news political analyst. he was the mayor of philadelphia while beau biden was assistant to the city's united states attorney. he remembers beau biden for his engaging personality and unquantifiable potential. let me ask you about that
potential. it strikes me looking at the career and life of beau biden, obviously he was ambitious. you're not in politics if you're not ambitious. but there was something more than just ambition there. there this is somebody who was essentially offered his father's senate seat back in 2009 and he said no. this is somebody who in the political of his political career shipped off to iraq. an enormous obviously personal risk. something he didn't have to do. he had an incredible future in politics, but there was something else driving him. >> i think beau always had a sense of duty. i mean the senate seat would have been pretty attractive to go into the senate at his early age. he could have been a powerful senator. ted kennedy serving for 30 35 years. or it would have vaulted him into national attention. but he believed he had a job to do as attorney general. and that sense of duty propelled him. the same sense of duty that made
him go to iraq with the national guard. but i think his potential as a politician, as a political figure was unlimited. governor markell is definitely right. beau would have been elected governor in a landslide. and normally the governor of a small state like delaware look at jack markell, an incredibly capable guy, nobody talks about him being on the national ticket. but because beau was a biden if he had been a successful governor i could have very well seen beau being a vice presidential or even a presidential candidate down the road. >> we talk about president obama delivering the eulogy. there's that personal relationship that has grown so much. i'm curious about what you watched in the early days of the 2008 campaign. there was tension between them. there clearly was. to this moment now where the president feels so close to the bidens that he wants to deliver
the eulogy. he's writing it himself. >> i think it's extraordinary. i remember in the early stages of the 2008 campaign, when joe would make one of his characteristic gaffes the president would just shake his head. i thought this isn't going to work. even if they win the election, they're going to be like fire and ice. but they grew to respect each other. i think the president respected joe's opinion. most of all, they became friends. the president, as you know steve, is an incredibly devoted family guy and so is joe. so i think there's that sense of a father feeling another father's loss. >> also today, the former president bill clinton and hillary clinton, they are expected to be at this funeral mass today. and there's a little bit of -- i guess there's been in the last few years a little bit of professional awkwardness with
biden and with the clintons with biden wanting to be president and hillary clinton basically monopolizing all of the support that joe biden otherwise maybe would have had. can you talk a little bit -- you know the clintons so well. the relationship between the clintons and the bidens. >> well go back to president president clinton was president. he turned to joe biden on a number of pieces of key legislation to sponsor it. the crown bill was written by joe biden, but it was a centerpiece of president clinton's first term, no question about it. and i think the president and joe had a great mutual respect for each other. and even hillary and joe -- and you're right steve, there must have been some sense of rivalry, but they worked together particularly on the national security council. i think they respected each other's views, their intelligence, their input. so i think it's a close relationship despite the fact that they're political rivals. i know when bob casey and i ran against each other, it was a
very tough campaign. but we have always been and continue to be very close personal friends. you can do that in politics. i think people don't realize that there is a level of friendship in politics that transcends even winning and losing. >> all right, governor rendell, please stay with us. all of our guests will be staying with us as we continue our live coverage of the funeral of beau biden. up next, more on what we can expect from those services, which are expected to get under way about ten minutes from now. also the role that faith plays for vice president joe biden. progressive insurance here and i'm a box who thrives on the unexpected. ha-ha! shall we dine? [ chuckle ] you wouldn't expect an insurance company to show you their rates and their competitors' rates but that's precisely what we do. going up! nope, coming down. and if you switch to progressive today you could save an average of over 500 bucks. stop it. so call me today at the number below. or is it above? dismount! oh, and he sticks the landing!
audible safety beeping audible safety beeping audible safety beeping the nissan rogue with safety shield technologies. the only thing left to fear is you imagination. nissan. innovation that excites. vice president joe biden is a devout roman catholic, something he has spoken about throughout his political career. >> my religion defines who i am. and i've been a practicing catholic my whole life.
and it has politically informed my social doctrine. catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who can't take care of themselves. people who need help. >> today, the funeral mass for biden's son beau biden will be celebrated at the st. anthony of padua roman catholic church in wilmington delaware. so, father martin, take us through what we're about to watch. we had luke russert on earlier and he said this is going to be a very catholic funeral. what does that mean? >> well it's a catholic mass. the kind of mass that anyone would get in the catholic church. the body will be greeted at the door by the father the presider. there will be readings. there will be the gospel the liturgy of the eucharist, and eulogies, and a final commendation, which is a final goodbye to the body which will be take on the the graveyard by the former archbishop of
washington. this is a traditional catholic mass and it's the same catholic mass that someone who is unknown would also receive. >> we're being told genere rayal ray odierno is going to be delivering one of the eulogies. is it customary to have that many eulogies? i remember when my grandmother passed away, we were told by the priest one of you speaks and that was sort of it. >> it's not customary. usually it's one person briefly speaking about the person's life. but in a public setting, these are actually customary to have a little bit more attention paid on the person's public life. >> we are joined by chris hale, who has written extensively about joe biden's faith. he's the executive director of catholics in alliance for the common good, co-founder of the catholic journal millennial. he also ran catholic outreach for the obama-biden campaign.
thank you for taking a minute with us. you've seen joe biden up close. you've written about his faith so much. the role of faith in joe biden's life. can you tell us about that? >> joe biden says there's two things that matter to him most, his faith and his family. as we've seen throughout this tragedy, and also the tragedy of losing his older daughter and his first wife in 1972 faith has sustained him. i think it's important, he's talked about how he's experienced faith at god. it's a very biblical reaction. moses had anger at god. david. modern heroes of faith, mother teresa dorothy day. that gospel will talk about martha losing her brother. she too experienced anger. i think it's a very common reaction that we're seeing. the vice president will see faith has sustained him and will probably move him forward from this tragedy. >> thank you to christopher hale in washington, d.c. you're watching special live coverage here on msnbc, remembering beau biden. the funeral service expected to get under way any minute now.
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plus competitive owners and lessees get $500 bonus cash, only at your lincoln dealer. you're looking live at what is happening right now inside st. anthony of padua roman catholic church in wilmington delaware. any minute now, funeral services for the son of vice president joe biden, beau biden, are expected to get under way. obviously a full church there. we have a list of some of the dignitaries who have come to pay their respects at this service, including former president bill clinton, his wife hillary clinton, the senate's top republican leader mitch mcconnell is there. top democratic leader harry reid is there. nancy pelosi there as well. attorney general loretta lynch. a host of cabinet members. a number of other elected officials and members of congress. joe biden had served for 36 years in the united states senate before becoming vice president. on monday senators from both
sides of the aisle took to the floor to mourn beau biden and to pay their respects to joe biden. >> beau biden was known to many as a dedicated public servant, a loving father of two, and a devoted partner to the woman he loved, haley. i've known the president for many years, and it's hard to think of anything more important to him than his faith and his family. i hope he will find comfort in the former as he grieves such a terrible loss. >> i said to him and cried last night, we heard the news. i think about a wonderful family. i think about a life cut too short. far too short. >> we knew that he was in a life struggle but the fact that he would lose his life saturday evening at age 46 is a personal
and family tragedy. it's a tragedy compounded by the extraordinary person that beau biden was. >> i think every member of this body reaches out to them with our thoughts and our prayers as they go through this very tragic situation. >> there's no question that -- i repeat, that delaware's a better place because of beau. our country's a better place because of beau. and the world's a better place because of beau biden. >> christina belantoni down in washington, d.c. with roll call. let me bring you in on this. we almost forget i think, such a big part of joe biden's career was decades he served in the united states senate. we're always talking about how partisanship and polarization has never been worse in washington. and in a way, joe biden's senate career is a bit of a throwback to that time we talk about when there was a little bit more of a
common bond between the two parties. and it looks like we saw a little bit of that this week. >> and part of that is bringing your family with you into that sort of body. they knew about him in real ways, not just hearing about him. he spent a lot of time in washington and with a lot of the lawmakers there. one of the things that's so -- you know, it's an awful tragedy, no matter how you look at it. set aside all of his political destiny and all of the things that he could have achieved it's awful to lose a child in any way, shape, or form. but this family the biden family one of the reasons so many journalists are so touched by this is because that family was very open with everyone. i spent time with them in 2007 and 2008 in iowa you know out on the campaign trail. they embraced everyone and let everyone embrace them back. so you knew the biden family in a bigger way than many other politicians. and the senate is exactly expressing that. that's how they knew that
family, everyone in it. and this is a tragedy for everyone. >> and, you know jamal simmons, as christina is saying the people who knew and who know joe biden, who know the biden family up close, who get to know them that way, i often think of people who only know joe biden through the jokes that are made about him, through that onion caricature that's out there. i think a lot of people would be surprised by the warmth that exists, the respect that exists in washington and both sides of the aisle for the vice president. >> there absolutely is respect. and because people know that joe biden really does take these things seriously. i don't know the bidens extraordinarily well but i know the vice president a little bit and i remember introducing him to my mother. and the amount of time he took with my mother and talking to her and telling her about me and all the things that he was working on and asking her questions about her life. i think every political staffer sort of knows that. as a police officer staffer, you spend a lot of time with these families. you work for senators. you work for people who run for president. you spend time with the kids of these families.
the grandkids. sometimes you're babysitting while they're off doing what they're doing. and you see the way these families work and they are just like the rest of american families expect they have to live out these high points and tragedies in front of cameras. i think for those of us who get to be backstage and see how these things work, it's an incredibly sad day to imagine what that family is going through. >> and again, we are just moments away from the start of this funeral mass for beau biden. you're looking at live images from inside st. anthony of pad ra -- padua roman catholic church. it looks like the president arriving. the crowd standing and the president taking his seat in the front pew there with his wife, with his family. jonathan, that relationship between the president and joe biden, i mean as we see the president now taking a seat. we've been told he's been spending all week working on this. >> yeah. the relationship between the president and the vice president goes a whole lot deeper than their titles. these are two people we've been
talking about for a couple of hours now who grew to like each other. grew to really respect each other. the president depends on the vice president to be his deal maker. we've seen that happen over and over again during his presidency. the ties between the two families also go a lot deeper. the first lady and dr. jill biden, the second lady. they have been working on their pet project, military families making sure that military families are taken care of and looked after by the country that their loved ones are defending. they're workout buddies. kathleen biden, hunter biden's wife and the first lady, they work out together. so these are two families that are intertwined professionally, but also personally. and to add on to something jamal said. the thing -- we talk about, as you said the onion caricature of vice president biden, how, you know he's gaffe-prone. how we spend a lot of time
joking about the vice president. uncle joe. well, the thing about uncle joe is, everyone loves uncle joe. he's gaffe-prone, but you know his heart is in the right place. the bidens and particularly vice president biden wears his emotions wears his faith, wears everything on his sleeve. there's no artifice there. what you see is what you get. and that's why you see the outpouring of grief for this family. for that man. but also for beau. if you spent any time with the biden children with the biden boys, they are a reflection of him. him. that's why when a tragedy like this happens to him, the son of the vice president, it hits everybody, whether democrat, republican, reporters who cover the vice president, regular, everyday people. this is something that i think has hit a lot of people in a very personal way that i think
surprises them. >> it's also something -- the news of the decline of his health was something that was a closely guarded secret. we're told the vice president told the president when that diagnosis -- that grim diagnosis came in the last few months what was going to happen to his son. he told a few others, but nobody else. this was something last saturday night when this news started to break about beau biden, a lot of people said i didn't realize that it was that bad. vicky, we talk about joe biden, though. i think a lot of people are surprised. we're told he's not going to be among those offering eulogies. i think a lot of people from the outside may be a little bit surprised by that. joe biden is somebody that has spoken so movingly about grief about personal loss about his family's losses in the past. we played that clip earlier. it was just a few weeks ago. it's amazing to think about now in light of what's happened since then, but just a few weeks ago, he's at yale university talking about his family's experiences, losing his wife losing his daughter, his sons
nearly dying in 1972. a lot of people are surprised he is not one of the speakers today given how he's connected with so many people on the subject of grief. >> well, grief is something that everyone deals with differently. i think at this moment in time we see vice president joe biden leaning on his friend president obama. he is letting president obama speak for him provide those emotions in a public forum. and he is resting on his faith and his friends and his family. so i'm not surprised that at this moment, he's decided not to eulogize his son. but i do think in the coming weeks, we will see him open up because he is a very public person, and because he is going to share those emotions with us. because as a country we are sharing in that grief with vice president biden. >> if we can go back looking at scenes right now outside st. anthony of padua, an honor guard set up there. you see bagpipes coming in right now. if you look inside the church, it looks like we were starting to see some activity there. the crowd is now standing inside
the church and father what are we looking at right now? >> yes, there you see the other priests and archbishops and cardinals, includeing cardinal mccarrick taking their places in the sanctuary. you see the cross now going out from the sanctuary. the presider father donovan being greeted. this is the beginning of the service. you can see the cross bearer now coming out. that's father leo adunavin.
he will welcome the crowd and pray over the coffin. >> a hearse now pulling up. the hearse will be greeted outside the church. brought in for that funeral service for beau biden, which is getting under way right now. you're looking at the beginning of the service right now. i think jonathan, we look at the vice president's family. i think one of the things this week that really struck me was the images from the memorial services in dover, i'm told that all sorts of average citizens showed up for that this week, just to pay their respects to shake hands with the vice president and his family, and joe biden stayed there for all of it. >> yeah extraordinary. you know, delaware is a small state. and you get the sense when you travel with joe biden in delaware as i have, that he knows everybody in that state. and they know him. and as jonathan just mentioned, there's a closeness there because of his human qualities
that really comes out. so even if they don't know him personally, they feel that he knows them. that's a very powerful bond that they have. i want to just say a word about dr. jill biden -- >> we'll get that word in but let me just -- as you can see right here, this is the biden family now arriving outside the church. you see the vice president right there in the middle of the screen with his sunglasses on. you see his wife to his left. that's dr. jill biden. all sorts of nieces, nephews, grandchildren, around him in the hearse being opened up. so we see dr. jill biden there. you were saying about her. >> the immensity of her loss i think needs to be recognized. she came into beau and hunter biden's life when they were very young. you know 5, 6 years old. and very quickly she became mom.
not step mom. >> at one of those memorial services this week, she was referred to as their mother. >> yes. and they thought of that. they actually urged joe biden when they were very young to marry her. they suggested it to him. they wondered why it was taking him so long. so while they honor their birth mother amelia who died in the accident basically their entire lives have considered jill to be their mother and they spent an immense amount of time with her growing up while joe biden was in the senate back in delaware. and senator biden would go by amtrak famously home every night. but because of the distance and because of his duties it was a fairly long way and jill biden was really raising those boys as well as their daughter ashley. >> and you can see that to joe biden's right there, that is hunter biden, that is beau's
brother, joe biden's other son. he's standing there to the right of the vice president. i think governor ed rendell is still with us. governor the pride that joe biden took in both of his sons was -- he tells the story, as we've been talking about it, the story of getting through that loss in 1972 with them. there's that moment on the stage of the democratic convention where joe and beau biden embrace. this was a father who took an enormous amount of pride in what his sons grew up to be. >> no question. that was the highlight of the 2008 convention for me and for most of the delegates there. as great as it was to nominate senator obama as president the most moving moment was the exchange between beau and joe. and every father loves hopefully all of their children but for beau to follow in joe's path, i think that created a special relationship.
>> valerie biden, joe biden's sister, very, very close member of the family who took care of beau and hunter after the accident in 1972. you know, has been -- she and her family have been very close. it's impossible to exaggerate the closeness of this particular family. >> we're just taking a moment here to take in the scene, to watch and to listen as beau biden's casket is brought into the church. let's just take a look outside the church right now.
casket at the end of their life. so it's a lot of baptismal imagery. >> we see the casket brought up to the steps of the church there. looked like it was a military honor guard that was escorting it. there are official pall bearers. two of the vice president's brothers are pall bearers. his brother-in-law as well, the husband of his sister valerie, who jonathan was just talking about. also the son of valerie also one of the pall bearers. another nephew as well, joe biden's son-in-law that would be the husband of his daughter ashley, they are all pall bearers for this. as you can see now, joe biden and his family making their way into that church as well behind the casket. we just watched the casket carrying his son beau being brought into st. anthony of padua catholic church in wilmington, delaware. father the difference between the pall bearers that i just
read off and who we just saw bringing that body up, there's a ceremonial role. >> the honor guard is more of a military distinction. the pallbearers carry and help the body into the church. so it's a distinction between more of a public role and the private role of religious ceremony. not everyone would have an honor guard, obviously. >> right, and beau biden, an iraq war veteran. quite a scene there. you see joe biden comforting one of his young relatives there right outside the church. we've been seeing a lot of images like that this week of joe biden standing with his family trying to comfort them and you just wonder -- you can't see his eyes most of the shots i've seen of him this week he's had those shades on. and you just wonder, the incredible grief that this man has suffered several times in his life to have his son with such a promising future in front of him taken at the age of 46.
what has been going through joe biden's mind this week. >> and father next there will be some kind of procession i'm assuming? >> they'll bless the casket with holy water. they'll place the pall over it. and the casket and the family will be brought up to the front of the church. so there will be a procession of the casket and the family. >> okay. let's listen and watch as the bidens enter the church right now. ♪ ♪
thank you all for coming from the biden family and indeed, from the american nation. oh god almighty father our faith professes that your son died and rose again. your servant beau who has fallen asleep in christ may rejoice to rise again through him, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the holy spirit one god forever and ever amen.
the virtuous man, though he die before his time, will find rest. late for days is not what make age honorable. understanding. untarnished life. this is ripe old age. he has sought to please god so god has loved him. as he was living among sinners, he has been taken out. he has been carried off so that evil may not warm his understanding or treachery seduce his soul. for the fascination of evil grows good things into the shade
♪ surely goodness and kindness will follow me ♪ ♪ all the days of my life in the lord's house ♪ ♪ shall i dwell forever and ever ♪ ♪ my shepherd is the lord ♪ >> we are watching live coverage of the funeral of beau biden the son of joe biden. father martin is with us. just want to give you a sense of what it is you've been listening to and what is still to come in the mass. >> this is the first part of the mass, which is the liturgy of
the word focused on the readings. the second part is the liturgy of the eucharist. she's singing a psalm. the congregation is responding. there will be a second reading from second letter to corinithians. and there will be an hallelujah chorus, and taken from the gospel of john, the story of the raising of lazarus, very common of funerals because it talks about jesus. and then we'll move into the liturgy of the eucharist. >> let's go back live inside the church now.
>> a reading from the second letter of st. paul to the corinithians. brothers and sisters. we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from god. a dwelling not made with hands. eternal in heaven. we are always courageous although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the lord. for we walk by faith not by sight. yet we are courageous. the word of the lord.
bethany was near jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the jews had come to martha and mary to console them concerning their brother. when martha heard that jesus was coming she went and met him while mary sat in the house. martha said to jesus, lord if you had been here my brother would not have died. and even now i know that whatever you ask from god, god will give you. jesus said to her, your brother will rise again. martha said to him, i know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. jesus said to her, i am the resurrection and the life. whoever believes in me though the person diet shall the person live. and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.
do you believe this she said to him? yes, lord. i believe that you are the christ the son of god, who is coming into the world. the gospel of the lord. hallie dearest natalie and hunter joe and jill hunter and kathleen ashley and howard, your imminence cardinal mccarrick your excellency bishop your imminence archbishop demetrius, rabbi wright reverend jones,
president obama, general odierno, the many other dignitaries and public servants who are here dear friends, aulll. the reaction has been universal. whether you were a friend of beau biden's or knew him only from the press, how sad. how very very sad. it's heartbreaking. when i heard the news i wept. this great young man, this splendid son, this devoted deeply loving husband and father as true a brother as anyone could ever have this fearlessly patriotic public servant, gone. gone. gone. it was is like the night of
good friday. the one we hoped in counted on thought our future has been taken from us. how do you say goodbye to the finest man any of us have ever known? first i think we face the loss. the fact that we have lost the handsome, winning, humble presence of an incomparable gift. the richness of that gift is the measure of our grief. the nobler a man, the more he is praised and even revered. but the truly noble man, the righteous man of the book of wisdom knows that the one to be praised and indeed worshipped is not himself, but his creator, the ground and goal of his life. for all his sense of
responsibility and commitment, he knows that he did not invent himself, but was given life and a world to fulfill it in by a loving lord. only at the end of that life can he or his lord or indeed any of us make a full accounting of its achievement. whether young or old at our dying, it is only then that we can say of the life we have been given and of all those we have loved within the gift take it now lord it was your gift. all my family and friends in public service were your gift as well. take them now. take them now and fold them in your mercy. lead us home. you alone know fully the grace that accompanied your gift. as surely as beau biden knelt at
night to pray with his wife and children, whether in these words or some like them, he knew the words of jesus on the cross. father, into thy hands i commit my spirit. words that are offered to all of us to share on the good fridays of our lives. whether in prolonged suffering like beau's or in the gradual diminishments of age, our mortal lives are gifts that must pass through the darkness of death if they are to know the splendor of eternity. in this sense, death is not extengex extinguishing the light, as the great poet wrote, it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. or in the words of paul, we hope that even if the earthly tent we
live in is destroyed, we have a building from god, a house not made with hands. beau's life of giving to his fellow citizens and above all to his family was dazzling. as a young lawyer working for the justice department in philadelphia and also in war-torn kosovo, as a major in the judge advocate general corps, as attorney general of delaware foregoing a run in the united states senate, because of a mission to protect children from abuse. the watch words were honor. courage. integrity. my own favorite picture shows him standing before his father at an american base near baghdad on july 4th 2009 midway
through his deployment in iraq. the two men known for the warmth of their smiles are close to grim. a sense of danger and possibly worse hangs over the sun, looking into the eyes of earnest father. there is no limit to what the protection of life may entail. nor was there for jesus. if all of life is ultimately gift, how was he the gift that would redeem and fulfill the gift of our creation? how did god give us this son to reveal god's vision of the world and lead the world to god? i would prefer not to say that god gave us the sun to die for us. what father could possibly envisage that?
rather god gave us the son, god's own word in our flesh, to live with and for us. god gave us jesus to preach the kingdom among us. s re -- reciprocity, forgiveness. if that led to violent rejection by authorities, civil and religious, whom it threatened, so be it. jesus would not turn back. he remained true to his word in the very deepest sense, even to the cross, which made it possible for god once and forever to reveal the power of his forgiving love over even the cruellest death. death is so often cruel. we feel that today moving from good friday into holy saturday when all is violenced.
feelings are muted. grief and mourning overtake everything. beau is gone. but from our immediate vision only for we live now not only after good friday and through holy saturday but in easter. and here is beau's great final gift to us. promising, as he most assuredly was. his death calls us to hear again the promise the promise that the gift of life entails. it is the promise first given to the jewish people that their god would never fail them but would be faithful to them forever. it is the promise spoken by jesus to martha of bethany after the death of a brother lazarus. i am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me though the person dies yet
shall the person live. in jesus christ writes saint paul, it is always yes. for all the promises of god find their yes in them. that is why we utter the amen through him to the glory of god. in a few moments in our eucharistic prayer we will recall this mystery of our redemption, the fulfillment of the promise that attended creation from its beginning and courses through it still in the holy spirit. and for us in a special way, it becomes the promise of union with beau in the communion of saints. now and one day forever. we pray to be reunited now and one day forever with a remarkable man for whom belief
was not simply a view of life but engaged love. not merely confession but commitment. not only a generous life, but a search for the justice that makes friendship possible. for many of its saints the catholic church celebrates their feast on the day of the saint's death. the day of final union with god. through christ and in the holy spirit. i have little doubt that in this sense, may 30th 2015 is a feast day for everyone here. we may be weeping, and may weep more, but thanks to beau this is also a time of almost unlimited grace. i pray for all of us that the gift and promise of his life may
deepen our love and faith and hope in god and in one another in god. >> watching live coverage here of the funeral mass for beau biden, the son of vice president joe biden. juz just heard from father leo o'donovan. and father martin, can you tell us what is to come now from this point? >> father o'donovan is a jesuit priest focused on the resurrection, the focus of funeral mass at this point. the gifts will be brought up the bread and the wine will be brought up from the congregation. usually by members of the family or friends, and the idea is that
the congregation is making their offering to the mass and those are the bread and wine that will be used in the liturgy of the eucharist. >> and the holy communion will come after that? >> there will be prayers. there will be the consecration prayers during the liturgy of the eucharist. you'll hear the story, essentially the mass's kind of representation of the last supper. and then the communion host will be distributed to the congregation. what happens is called the preparation of the alter. the alter will be prepared for the liturgy of the eucharist, and at some point, father o'donovan will come back and create the gifts that will come up. you can hear the strings of "ave maria ". >> still to come the eulogies to be delivered by general ray odierno, family members, and by the president of the united states. let's turn now live inside the
>> prayer brothers and sisters that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to god, the almighty father. as we humbly present to you these sacrificial offerings, oh lord, for the salvation of your servant beau we beseech your mercy that he who did not doubt your son to be a loving savior may find in him a merciful judge who lives and reigns forever and
ever amen. the lord be with you, lift up your hearts. let us give thanks to the lord our god. it is truly right and just our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks. lord holy father almighty and eternal god through christ our lord. in him, the hope of blessed resurrection has dawned, that those saddened by the certainty of dying might be consoled by the promise of immortality to come. for your faithful lord life has changed, not ended. and when this earthly dwelling turns to dust an eternal dwelling is made ready in heaven. and so with angels and ss and
you are indeed holy oh lord. and all you have created rightly gives you praise. through your son our lord jesus christ, that the power and working of the holy spirit, you gave life to all things and made them holy. and you never ceased to gather people to yourself so that from the rising of the sun to its setting, a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name. therefore oh lord we humbly implore you by the same spirit graciously make holy these gifts we have brought to you for consecration. so that they may become the body and blood of your son, our lord jesus christ at whose command we
celebrate these mysteries. on the night he was betrayed he himself took bread, and giving you thanks he said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying take this, all of you, and eat of it for this is my body which will be given up for you. in a similar way, when supper was ended, he took the chalice, and giving you thanks, he said the blessing and gave the chalice to his disciple saying take this, all of you, and drink from it. for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. do this in memory of me.
sacrifice. we pray recognizing the sacrificial victim by whose death you will to reconcile us through yourself. grant that we are nourished by the body and blood of your son, may be filled with his holy spirit and become one body one spirit in christ. may he make of us an eternal offering to you so that we may obtain an inheritance, especially with the most blessed virgin mary mother of god, with your blessed apostles with anthony, and all the saints in your presence we rely for unfailing health. may this sacrifice of our reconciliation, we pray oh lord advance the peace and salvation of all the world. pleased to confirm in faith and charity your pilgrim church with
your servant pope francis. the order of bishops, all the clergy and the entire people you have named for your own. remember your servant beau who you have called from this world to your side. grant that he is reunited, may also be one with him at his resurrection. when from the earth he will raise up the flesh, in the flesh those who have died and transform our lowly body after the pattern of his own glorious body. to our departed brothers and sisters, too, and to all who are pleasing to you in their passing from this life give kind admittance in your kingdom. there we hope to enjoy forever the fullness of your glory when you will wipe away every tear
from our eyes for seeing you, our god, as you are, we shall be like you for all the ages and praise you without end through christ our lord through whom you bestow on the world all that is good. through him and with him and in him, our god almighty father, the unity of the holy spirit the glory and honor is yours forever and ever. ♪
>> let us pray now as the lord himself taught us. our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. thy kingdom come thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. deliver us oh lord we pray from every evil. graciously grant peace in our days. but by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our savior jesus christ, for the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.
lord jesus christ you said to your apostles peace, i leave you. my peace i give you. look not at our sins, but on the faith of your church, graciously grant peace and unity in accordance with your will. will live and reign forever, and ever. amen. the peace of the lord be always with you. let's share with one another the sign of the lord's peace. >> watching live coverage of the funeral mass for beau biden. those in attendance now exchanging offerings of peace with each other. and as you can see, there's vice president joe biden walking over
to greet president obama. their families greeting each other right now. father, we're getting ready right now just in terms of placing us in the course of this mass, we're getting ready for holy communion right now? >> the idea is before you approach the altar, before you receive union, you express a sign of peace with your brothers and sisters. so that's the idea before this reception, you would want to express your fellowship and communion and love of one another. the funerals it can be longer in terms of the people's grief and the desire to reach out to one another. >> you can see the president there greeting hunter biden just a second ago. that's the brother of beau biden, the biden family at the front of the church there on the left. the obama family came in sitting on the right. those two families now mingling with each other as this mass continues. to give you a sense of what else is to come we still have not heard any of the eulogies. the eulogies are going to be
delivered -- apparently there will be three of them. we're going to hear from general ray odierno, speaking about beau biden in terms of his military service. we're going to hear from beau biden's two siblings about him as a family man. and then we're going to hear from the president of the united states, barack obama, with the eulogy that he himself spent this week working on. all of that is still to come. also being told that we're going to be hearing from chris martin. chris martin from the band coldplay is going to be performing at this mass as a soloist. apparently beau biden was a big fan of the band coldplay and chris martin volunteered upon learning of that, volunteered to come and be a part of this service today. so all of that is still to come as this mass continues. looks like they're resuming. let's pick up the audio right now. >> we are blessed to be called
to his table. for communion, there will be stations in the front of the church, in the middle and in the back. if you wish to receive communion, please come forward through the center aisle and return to your seats by the side aisles. if you do not wish to receive communion but would like to receive a blessing which we greatly encourage, please come forward with your hands folded on your chest to receive the blessing.
father martin is with us right now. this raises an interesting question at an event like this. so many political figures in attendance. so many people who are not roman catholic in attendance at this mass. politically, we hear controversies break out every few years about communion at roman catholic masses and about politicians maybe being ineligible or told by the church they're not supposed to receive it because of their political issues on this issue or that issue. what are the guidelines right now for these political leaders who are in this church right now for who should come and get communion now and who shouldn't? >> as father o'donovan said
everybody's welcome. basically catholics who are in good standing are welcome to receive communion. it is a sign of communion with the church. i think one of the wonderful things about the funeral, places where they're not simply catholics, is that people are welcome to come forward and receive a blessing from the priest. so while not everyone wants to receive or can receive communion, it's a sign of real welcome i think at these services where it is not just catholics. >> for those people who are not catholic to be in this presence and see the beauty of the ceremony is so important to understanding how one heals through a process of the loss of a child when you have the ave maria, when you have the archbishop talking about how the lord can raise you up. i think this is so critical both to those of us of catholic faither but the larger community as well. >> sure. the ceremony itself is healing for people. the primary message of the
catholic mass is that death is not the last word, that we believe in eternal life with jesus in heaven. but also i think the funeral liturgy itself is very healing. there's something about the body being brought in mourning with the body with the person there and the body leaving. it can be very cathartic for people. the liturgy itself is part of the healing process. >> i was also thinking of the symbolism as the casket is brought in. you think about your baptismal experience, and when they put the cover on top of it it's the circle of life. the beauty of life. we begin and end in christ. >> i did a baptism last week. what you say to the child, which is very beautiful, take this white garment, wear white at a baptism, unstained into the kingdom of god. so there's a sense of you being welcomed into the church, and sort of welcomed into the kingdom of god afterwards. so there are many symbols.
there's the pall. the baptism water. the easter candle that you can see as a sign of new life. >> we're told by church officials that they estimate the crowd inside st. anthony of padua church there is about 1,000. it seats 900. they might have packed a few extra people in there. obviously a lot of high interest in attending today. we are going through some of the -- some sort of bigger political names who are in attendance today. we told you in addition to the president and his family, obviously the vice president and his family, the top leaders in the senate. mitch mcconnell the republican leader, he is there. harry reid, the democratic leader is there as well. nancy pelosi the top democrat in the house. steny hoyer, the number two democrat in the house, they are there as well. a few of the other names, jack markell, governor of delaware. senator pat leahy from vermont. joe manchin from west virginia. both of the u.s. senators from delaware. tom carper and chris coombs they are there as well. a number of members from the
house of representatives. debbie wasserman schultz the chair of the national democratic committee. chris van hollen, one of the top democrats from maryland. steve israel from new york. more than half a dozen cabinet officials from the obama-biden administration are there as well. caroline kennedy. she obviously has her own experiences at moments of tragedy like these. vickie kennedy, the widow of the late senator ted kennedy. and joe biden was very close to ted kennedy. when ted kennedy passed away joe biden would tell the story about how when his own wife and daughter were killed in that accident in 1972, joe biden had considered renouncing his election to the senate basically saying i just won the election, i've lost my family here, i don't want to serve in the senate. he said it was ted kennedy who talked him out of that. it was ted kennedy who came to visit him in the hospital. and again, i think we have
christina with us down in washington. and again, just reading off those names, christina. just speaks to -- to get mitch mcconnell and harry reid. we never get them together anywhere in the political context, but here they are together today. >> yeah. that list you read the white house released that as a list of attendees. i was curious if that was the fullest, because you noticed there's only one republican on there, mitch mcconnell, which i found surprising because joe biden actually does have many deep friendships on the republican side. as i was watching, a very moving service. it was hard not to get choked up while we're watching the feed here. but you can see how many staff members are there as well. jay carney former press secretary to the white house but also former press secretary to joe biden, former journalist himself. dennis mcdonagh is there. sam myers, who's one of the travelling advance men. you can see him helping them as they were coming into the church. he's worked with them for many years and is very close to the
biden family. how many people were there to show the outpouring of support for the bidens. >> and of course, we had that moment we just watched where as they're offering -- the congregates offer gestures of peace to each other. you have the biden family and the obama family joining in the middle of the aisle there. but jonathan this is obviously a very moving ceremony to watch. i'm a lapsed catholic, but it's moments like that i remember why so many people are drawn to the church. >> yeah. watching the ceremony we're singing -- as i said earlier, the vice president wears a lot of things on his sleeve. he wears the love of his family on his sleeve. he also wears the love of his faith on his sleeve. and as has been mentioned before, he is leaning heavily on his faith right now to get him through this.
it's very hard for a parent to bury a child. and this is the second time he's has to do this. this is a man who a lot of people -- we're seeing through the ceremony and through all the discussions about the vice president, just how respected and revered and loved he is. simply because he's just human. and sometimes a little too human. but because people understand where his heart is where his head is where his motivations are, to watch the ceremony on television or to be one of the thousand-plus people in the church right now is to share in this very -- i don't want to say special moment. but in a very sort of sincere
outpouring of grief for beau biden, for his family that he's left behind. for his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and his parents, both the vice president and as jonathan was saying before jill biden, dr. jill biden is not beau biden's birth mother, but she came to them when they were very young. and she and the then senator met. and they consider her mom. so this is a very big moment for them. and i think for us as well. >> we should note here a lot of people maybe don't even know this, that the given name of beau biden is joseph r. biden. he named his son after him. jamal simmons in washington i think you're still with us. we talked a little bit earlier of beau biden. it had in so many ways -- just starting to take off.
it had incredible potential. you could see the pride that joe biden took in his son, what his son had already achieved. what his son could achieve. i have heard people talk to me and say hey, joe biden got very far on the political ladder. he got to be vice president of the united states. he thought his son could go farther. there's only one spot farther than vice president. he thinks his son -- a lot of people said his son had at least the potential maybe someday to go farther than that. look at joe biden now. obviously it's just a moment of incredibly grief. but joe biden is still vice president of the united states. where does he go from here in terms of his life in terms of his career? >> i think someone mentioned it earlier, i think it was mayor rendell, that this is probably the penultimate moment of joe biden's political career. does not look like he's going to be president of the united states. i think those of us who pay attention to politics will probably look at -- looked at beau biden as somebody who -- always on the lookout for who's the next comer. he certainly was somebody who was prompted to be on that list.
but i noted you mentioned caroline kennedy was there in the church. if we think back about it the last time we had a member of the president or vice president's family to die while they were in office was in 1963 when caroline kennedy's 2-day-old premature brother patrick died and president john kennedy and jackie kennedy had a funeral mass for him. in 1994, i worked for bill clinton when his mother passed away and i went to hot springs, arkansas, for that funeral and helped produce that funeral as part of the advance staff. it's a really complicated thing to pull together. you've got cabinet members and celebrities and other people who show up. so they're really tricky things. for the american public we're not used to seeing that. it's been 50 years since a child of the president or the vice president has passed away while they were in office. i think before that it was calvin coolidge and before that, it was abraham lincoln. so this is not something we are very used to in america seeing
on television for sure. >> that's right. it was also vice president biden's mother. if you think back to that 2008 campaign, she had a bit of a star moment at the democratic convention in 2008. she was so proud of her son. barack obama in his speech saluted mama biden. she's passed away since then. the vice president losing his mother since becoming vice president and now his son. >> one of the things that strikes me about this is politicians, especially vice presidents, have to go to a lot of funerals. it's part of the job. and vice presidents travel all over the world. any politician goes to the funeral of constituents. to be honest about it they're not often all that sad. it's just part of the job. this is in a different category. this is something where everybody in that church and everybody in the wider washington community, which can sometimes take on the cast of a
family, as many communities do political community is a family in some ways. a rivalrous family at times. but there's genuine grief and sadness here that you don't always see when politicians go to funerals. >> as you can see, communion probably close to wrapping up right now. we're going to be getting back to the services in just a minute. so as we said the eulogies here from general ray odierno, from beau biden's brother and sister, and from president obama. we've yet to hear any of those. also, as we also mentioned, we're told that chris martin from the band coldplay is going to play at this funeral as a soloist. so, father martin when they finish with union, what's the rough schedule here? do we have a sense? >> sure. so this may or may not be the last song of the choir. they may choose to do another one. sometimes it's up to the choir. you can see father o'donovan, what's called purifying the
vessels and finishing up communion. he will either offer a brief prayer and perhaps invite eulogists and then the meditation the song and final commowedation. now comes the time for the eulogies the traditional time in the mass for the eulogy. >> let's go back inside saint anthony of padua roman catholic church and resume our live coverage of the funeral of beau biden. ♪ you shall cross the barren desert but you shall not die of thirst ♪ ♪ you shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way you shall speak your words in
>> good morning. it is my distinct honor to be here today to remember and celebrate the life and accomplishments of beau biden, a father the husband, a son, a friend a leader a soldier, and a patriot. a life much too short, but a life that had incredible meaning and a life that left an indelible mark on all of us. beau's family was the center of his life and he always put them
first. hally hallie his loving wife his son and daughter joe biden and dr. jill biden brother hunter and sister ashley and all the biden family. i know how much he loved you so dearly. i know this is an exceptionally difficult time for a family and words cannot express the sorrow linda and i have for the loss of beau. but as i look out across the audience gathered here today, i reflect on the impact beau's life has had on all of us all across the nation in particular, the state of delaware, throughout the united states army and most of all, his family friends, and colleagues. i want to start off by talking about beau biden the soldier. it was in iraq where i had the
incredible honor to serve beside him and really get to know him. it's sometimes hard to explain to others about the bond formed between soldiers in combat the shared commitment to mission, the unspoken reliance on each other, the indefinable trust that is forged. it is a brotherhood that only a few understand. i have always believed that an individual's character defiance them -- defines them as a character and a man's character is truly revealed under the most extreme and stressful conditions. i was able to witness firsthand beau's incredible character. one principle with deep moral and ethical roots. he understood the importance of maintaining trust with